By on August 4, 2011

Here’s a tip: If you ever find yourself in a situation where the leader of a local street-racing/coordinated-driving-tractor-trailer-theft gang ever decides that you owe him a twelve-second car, an old W-body Buick Regal GS Supercharged is a good place to start. You’d be amazed how much power those old crapwagons can twist out. Just make sure you’re holding on to the steering wheel with both hands.

If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for a nice mid-sized sedan, GM’s pricing announcement today is likely to be of more interest. We have two models: the GS, which comes with a six-speed manual and may be kind of fast, and the eAssist, featuring a low-feature approach to hybrid tech which may leave the green crowd a bit furious.

The release says,

Regal with eAssist will start at $29,530, and Regal GS will start at $35,310; both prices include $860 in destination charges. The eAssist system is a $2,000 option on the Regal base model, mated to a 2.4L Ecotec engine. Buick will continue to offer the base model without eAssist as well as the 2.0L turbo.

eAssist, in case you’re wondering, is the mild hybrid system previously discussed here on TTAC.

Regal with eAssist uses a variety of advanced technologies and body enhancements to deliver an EPA-rated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, the latter being unsurpassed by the higher-priced Lexus HS Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Left unstated is the 41mpg city rating for the MKZ and the 35mpg city rating from the HS250. The price advantage, however, is legitimate: five grand cheaper than the Lincoln and Lexus.

The GS, on the other hand, offers 270hp/295 lb-ft of torque from the two-liter Ecotech turbo first seen in the Solstice and Sky. It has push-button start, adjustable damping, nineteen-inch alloys, and a buffed-out harmon/kardon sound system. Most interestingly, it debuts with a six-speed manual transmission; a six-speed automatic won’t be around until later in the year.

When considering the Regal GS, try to forget the Infiniti G37, which drives the “right” wheels and offers more power for the same money. The Lexus IS350 is priced within a grand. Neither of these cars comes with a six-speed manual, however. The Infiniti G37 6MT is a separate model and it’s forty-one grand, minimum. Perhaps more troublingly, a base 328i six-speed sedan costs virtually the same as the Regal. Throw in the infamous BMW leasing rates, and ask yourself, Wouldn’t I really rather have a Bimmer?

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55 Comments on “Buick Regal eAssist Is $29,530; GS Turbo is $35,310...”


  • avatar

    I’d really rather have a Buick. too bad they quit making them.

  • avatar
    TheHammer

    Buickman- It may be time to let go of the past.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Or least walk down to the local Lexus or Hyundai dealership. Lots of modern day Park Avenues and Lesabres there, with a slight Japanese or Korean flavor to the Buick experience.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    I’m usually the last person on Earth to rush to GM’s defense, but anytime a comparison to a BMW 3-series uses the word “base” I quit reading. Unless you both want and can find a stripper equipped like an Accord DX, you’re spending thousands more than “base” to get a comparable car. Few buyers in this segment care about nothing but performance; that’s why they aren’t buying a Mustang GT, STi, RX-8, etc. And as mentioned, no stick on the G37 unless you spend a lot more.

    The GS looks like what the second-gen TSX should have been. Given the likely drop from MSRP to selling price, this would be high on my list if I needed to replace my ’06 TSX.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If the GS is ever legitimately comparison shopped with the 3-series then that is a giant victory for Buick.

    The GS’s main target market is going to be the GM faithful that spent money on the cars you tenderly referred to as crapwagons. Outside competition should mainly be from other domestic stuff like the Fusion Sport, MKZ, Charger/300, and used CTSs. Maybe a few TSX, CC, and Legacy intenders will give it a look too.

  • avatar
    alluster83

    36 MPG highway? Color me unimpressed. A standard Accord with a 5 Spd Auto returns 34 MPG without the e-assist crap. Its actually bigger and longer too. GM should have instead got the weight down for the same amount of money.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      A standard Accord aint no Buick, although it MAY still be built better – jury’s out on that one; fuglier, too.

    • 0 avatar
      nuvista

      A 100-lb decrease in weight improves mpg by only 1-2 percent. The Regal eAssist’s combined mpg is 26% higher than the regular Regal’s; 29 vs 23 mpg.

      There are no cost-effective weight-reduction technologies currently available that can match that result.

      Weight reduction is a very good strategy for improving the fuel economy of the fleet by, for example, moving people from 4500-lb SUVs into 3500-lb cars. On the other hand, it is a weak strategy for improving the fuel economy of indidivual vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      It will be interesting to see 0-60 numbers between the two. I believe that the Regal is geared more for acceleration.

      But, the Regal does much better in the city mpg, where hybrids typically do better, but also has start stop which will save more than EPA numbers will suggest.

  • avatar

    The current Buick Regal is a very good car (worthy of comparison to those Jack mentions) that only needs an equally good engine. Perhaps the GS mill will do the trick, but that price does seem high.

    I’ll try to get these prices into TrueDelta’s database soon, for some apples-to-apples comparisons.

    http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Since you are giving the Regal a positive comment, I assume that the data you have shows respectable reliability? Does your data reflect any quality/reliability changes since production moved from Germany to Canada?

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    It weighs at least 3600 pounds with only 270 hp and a manual transmission is going to make a difference? Let me guess, 1% of all buyers will opt for the manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Initially the manual will be the only transmission available for the GS, so right off the bat 100% of buyers will “opt” for the manual. At some undefined point later in the model year, buyers will be able to select either a manual or an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Only 270hp? Let me introduce you to my first car, a 1982 Chevy Celebrity with all of 92hp. We are living in a golden age of horsepower and need to stop whinning like little girls.

      • 0 avatar
        tikki50

        No doubt I personally like the companies that jump up and down look at us look at us we have the highest HP in its class, blah blah blah, and they do by 1 HP. Im not changing my buying decision due to 1 HP sorry, LOL. Most cars today come pretty well equipped with HP, Torque, convenience options etc. Sure we all want monsters under the hood that get 40 MPG, I have this pipe for you to smoke with your dreams.

        I have to say for a buick the GS is really sharp. Been seeing younger women driving them too, which is good for the brand.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Open plea to Michael Karesh:

    I’d love to see a spec to spec, feature to feature, price to price comparison between the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Buick Regal and LaCrosse with eAssist.

    How about firing up the True Delta fact machine? A Sonata Turbo to Regal Turbo comparison would be fantastic as well. Thanks

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’m not sure if I should applaud or laugh at the idea of turbo Buick with a 6 speed manual. I actually think these cars look pretty good, but there is NO way someone looking at BMW, Lexus, Acura or Infiniti is going to consider a Buick. OK maybe Acura or Volvo shoppers… but why not just opt (like my parents did) for a loaded up Sonata Turbo?

    • 0 avatar

      If you can’t feel the difference in how the car rides and handles, then by all means go for the Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “…but there is NO way someone looking at BMW, Lexus, Acura or Infiniti is going to consider a Buick.”

      GM data on Regal buyers shows otherwise. Most Regal sales are coming from people who have never owned a GM vehicle. (I believe the industry term for that is “conquest sales”.)

      You don’t want a Buick, and that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but your perception isn’t representative of car buyers in general.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        ” Most Regal sales are coming from people who have never owned a GM vehicle. ”

        Really? Where did you read this? I’d be interested in seeing which brand Buick is pulling from.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        As of January 2011 – “Since its launch last spring, 41 percent of Regal’s buyers have come from non-GM brands.” from http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/vehicles/regal/2011.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Jan/0128_regalturbo

        As of August 2011 – “Approximately 45 percent of Regal buyers come from non-GM brands.” from http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Aug/buicksales

        Technically, my choice of the word “most” was not ideal, however, 45% is still a great result. The number of conquest sales is trending upward over time which is another good result.

        If you want to read more of GM’s Regal press material go to http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/vehicles/regal/2011.html

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Most Regal sales are coming from people who have never owned a GM vehicle.

        That isn’t quite accurate:

        “Regal commands one of the highest conquest rates among Buick vehicles, with 46 percent of buyers coming from a non-GM brand and 22 percent of those customers trading in imports, which has helped Buick gain share in key markets like New York and Florida.”

        http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Jun/buicksales

        A bit more than half of Regal’s conquest sales are coming from F-L-M and Chrysler. Judging from the New York and Florida comment, I’m guessing that a lot of these are older folks who were marooned by Mercury, unwilling to pay Lincoln prices or unnerved by Chrysler.

        Still, 22% is a decent import conquest figure for GM, so all is not amiss. Then again, these GM press releases tend to be filled with spin, so I’d be wary of putting too much stock in the figures. (If they proved to be aggressively optimistic, I wouldn’t be surprised.)

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        PCH101,

        I accept the accuracy of your pedantic correction of my use of language.

        I’m confident that we can “put stock” in GM’s figures. Your opinion about which domestic brands Buick is getting its buyers from, on the other hand, it a totally random, unsubstantiated guess. I think it’s your information that we’d be wise not to put a lot of stock in.

        Insert Internet smiley face here!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m confident that we can “put stock” in GM’s figures

        I just showed on another thread that the fleet sales that GM reported in its press releases were considerably lower than those that were included in its financial statements. And that’s not an unusual example of the puffery found in its PR releases. I fear that that your confidence is misplaced.

        Your opinion about which domestic brands Buick is getting its buyers from, on the other hand, it a totally random, unsubstantiated guess.

        “…46 percent of buyers coming from a non-GM brand and 22 percent of those customers trading in imports…”

        That would mean that 24% of buyers are coming from a non-GM domestic, which excluding the odd Studebaker, Plymouth or Packard leaves us with:

        -Dodge
        -Chrysler
        -Jeep
        -Ford
        -Lincoln
        -Mercury

        If you have any insights as to any other hidden non-GM domestic brands that might be lurking, please feel free to let me know.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      I am that someone.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’m sure there is more cross-shopping than most people think. The Sonata and Optima can legitimately be shopped against luxury brands. If brand status is a consideration of the buyer, the Koreans won’t win, and nor will Buick. When price becomes an issue, these buyers just buy CPOs, they don’t drive Buicks.

    Forget the Lincoln, why would anyone choose an e-assist Regal over a Fusion Hybrid? For $35K you can get a nice CPO 5 series, let alone a 3 series. So the GS has a tough market. It loses on price to the turbo Sonata or Optima and loses on perceived status to the luxury brands. No RWD scares the real performance crowd as well. Buick is simply not a truly upscale brand. It is what Mercury was to Ford, a very lightly dressed up Chevy. I know the new Opel based models are not just rebadged Chevrolets, but that is what the brand perception remains for most Americans.

    • 0 avatar

      Better products can change perceptions, sometimes sooner rather than later.

      A year ago the “Focus” brand had sunk very low in public perception, a victim of years of neglect. Ford could have gone the route GM typically does. Instead, they kept the old name and attached it to a much better car. And, guess what? Despite the new car’s high price and “damaged” name, people are buying it.

      Same for the Taurus, though the car isn’t as good.

      And these comments doubting Buick’s potential nevertheless often mention Hyundai. A decade ago Hyundai’s rep seemed damaged beyond salvation.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        “A year ago the “Focus” brand had sunk very low in public perception, a victim of years of neglect.”

        And, it must be said, a “victim” of stellar sales. The 2008 Focus was almost certainly the right car at the right time. My mother drives a 2008 Focus automatic which has covered 57,800 trouble-free miles, averaging 37mpg in real-world use.

        It’s very trendy to bitch about the 2008 Focus but those complaints mostly came from Mr. Euros.

      • 0 avatar

        Before there was bitching about the 2008 there was bitching about the 2005, with its cheapened interior and elimination of the SVT. I actually enjoyed driving both the 2005 ST (which I continue to often recommend as a used car) and the 2010 high-spec sedan I had as a rental earlier this year.

        But neither car commanded the respect or the prices the 2012 is commanding. Two of my friends have bought 2012s. Neither is remotely a “Mr. Euro,” but neither would have bought the old car.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      How can you say Optimas and Sonatas can be considered along side luxury cars but the Regal cannot. I can respect people who think none of them should be compared to luxury cars but to think people compare Kia to Infiniti and BMW and they don`t for Buick is just laughable. For the record I am thinking of a Kia Soul for my next purchase so have nothing against Kia.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I would not be supprized by someone heading down to the Buick dealer driving a Regal and then heading over to the Hyundai dealer and driving a Sonata Limited. The cars are similar in size, power output, and ammenities depending on trim level.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        They might test drive a compact crossover too. I am not sure I see the point there. Cars from different segments are cross shopped all the time. But you need to be careful when comparing them. The Regal is an upscale sports sedan that is quieter than the Sonata and handles much better. The Sonata isn’t those things. They will be cross shopped by some buyers. But, someone who wants a nice new vehicle, nicer than a Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Hyundai, but doesn’t want to spend as much as a Lexus, MB, BMW, etc might be interested in a Buick. BTW, there sales are up a lot in recent years too.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Dan I agree with you but let me try again to explain my point which was in response to slance66.

        I can see scenario a) buyer considers neither the Sonata or Regal as luxury and b) buyer considers both cars as luxury (because of amenities etc). What I don`t understand is how someone could consider the Sonata luxury whilst thinking the Regal is not.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        mike978 – I understand and would agree with that. I can see why a Lexus LS buyer might not consider the Sonata “luxury” but yeah I can’t comprehend why Buick shopper might not try a Sonata too. Heck the Buick shopper will likely test drive a Camry with leather too.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Some people prefer a new car to a used CPO.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    On looks and rarity alone, I’d take a Regal GS over a no-options 328i any day; my local dealer doesn’t even stock Dreiers under $40k. There’ll be even less reason to pick the Bimmer or Merc once they switch to turbo fours themselves this fall.

  • avatar
    cirats

    Apologies in advance for the threadjack but the Infiniti and BMW comparisons jumped to mind before I even got to that part of the article.

    Anyway, I am currently looking for a quality, sporty (i.e., enjoyable to drive) and somewhat upscale 4-door sedan w/ manual transmission and preferably RWD in the sub-$30k price range and my best choices seem to be circa 2008 Infiniti G35, BMW 335 or 328, and Cadillac CTS.

    Anybody care to comment on those choices or suggest others? It seems that the CTS will be cheaper but far harder to find w/ MT, though I’ve got my local Carmax transferring one in for free for me to check out. I think I’d enjoy the BMW the most (I currently drive an E36 M3) but tend to keep cars 5 to 7 years and am terrified by what I’m reading about post-warranty period maintenance, and that’s coming from someone currently maintaining a 14 year old BMW. This will be a daily driver – mostly suburban commuting – but I only put about 8k miles/year on a car – we use the minivan for family trips and hauling stuff.

    • 0 avatar

      Simple method: drive them all, see which one you enjoy the most. Pay attention to which suspension is fitted–all are available with at least two levels of tuning.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I like the Infiniti G35/37, but the Sport suspension that comes with the manual transmission hurts my back. Test drive it on a concrete street with rough expansion joints. I think the Journey Automatic models are superior daily driver cars and they’re super easy to find on the used market. I can’t imagine ever choosing a Buick GS over an Infiniti G.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I don`t know why you would be terrified of an out of warranty 3 series. You have a 14 year old one so you have experience. Looking at Truedelta the BMW is about average so it isn`t like after 4 years – 1 day or 1 mile out of warranty the car will collapse. Sure it will be more expensive to fix than a Malibu but you factor that it.

      • 0 avatar
        cirats

        Yeah, but the E36 M3 drivetrain is pretty bulletproof and the car does not have tons of complicated features. Everything I read suggests that the current 335 is a hopelessly complex machine, not engineered to last long past the warranty period, and engineered to the extent that (and with “proprietary” information protected in such a way that) even dealership mechanics don’t really know all the ins and outs of working on them. Lord, it apparently doesn’t even have a dipstick so you can check the oil.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Isn’t the 2012 La Crosse with eAssist about he same price as the Regal with same?

  • avatar
    DDayJ

    Respecting the price point comments about the G37 and IS350, the availability of the 6MT really would swing me towards the Buick. I just wish more people felt that way. Could also be that I’m currently an owner of a Saab, a Mazda, and a Pontiac and seem to have an affinity for small brands.

    One other note on the Bimmer lease, location dicatates the lot options too. Here in Colorado, I looked into the option of leasing a 328i (rear driver) to replace my old A4 and give my Saab to my fiance. I found that there were NO new rear wheel drive 3s avaiable on the lot in the state at that time. Closest was in New Mexico, or the factory…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      But why would you NOT simply order a 3-series spec’d to your hearts desire? BMW makes it completely painless, whether you do normal delivery or European Delivery. I’m in the middle of my European Delivery vacation right now, on the coast of Finland. Picked up my 328i Sport Wagon (RWD, lightly optioned, six-speed manual) last Friday in Munich. Amazing experience.

      But back to the subject at hand, the new Buick seems like a decent-enough car, and I think they will sell a bunch of them in the fly-over states, but you will never see them on the coasts.

      • 0 avatar
        DDayJ

        For me, we decided to go on the lower end of the scale and bought a new Mazda3, and have lived happily with it since then. Fair point though.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        I agree – when I leased a 3 series it was lightly optioned. Automatic (now standard), the sports package and leather. $38K before discount. So it is perfectly possible to get a well equipped 3 for less than $40K – although the Buick will have a higher spec.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      One would think that CO BMW dealers typically stock xdrive versions of the 3er in all variants. Was the RWD the issue?

  • avatar
    wsn

    IMO, whether Cadillac is a brand good enough to compare to BMW or Lexus is still in debate (i.e. only CTS is decent, no real competition to 5-series, LS, RX). And now GM tries to hype Buick as being competing with those two?

    And Regal’s strength being a 6MT? Am I reading this right? An auto-piloting system on a Buick would actually server the market better and make GM more money.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Personally I’m still waiting to see how fast a base Verano will be. A little larger than the Cruze, smaller than the Regal, and powered by a 2.4ltr eco-tech making around 170-180hp – that might be a sleeper.

  • avatar

    I drove all these cars – Regal, TSX, G25, 325i, Sonata and Fusion/MKZ. I would say right away that TSX is the worst among them – steering is too light and impresize and chassis feels like driving Camry. G25 is not a bad car but is not comfortable – uncomfortable seat plus harsh ride. BMW 328i is well balanced comfortable with great seats and ergonomics and excellent chassis, but costs north to $40K if competitively optioned. BMW is the best car among these but steering is heavy and seating is low (which I like BTW) and it is also small. Regal is very solid car which need better engine, but it is high quality car and with solid German engineered chassis. Interior is well made and controls are pleasure to use but materials are not as high quality as in other luxury cars. Of all those cars MKZ has the best interior materials but ergonomics is strange and too many cheap bits from Fusion. Fusion and MKZ are nice cars but look outdated and will be replaced next year with new Mondeo platform.

    Comparing Regal to BMW – BMW is more expensive and has different feel – like heavy steering and low seating – in that aspect it is not for everyone. Regal is more mainstream – steering is good but considerably lighter than in BMW, seating is more upright and feels having more room, has larger trunk and so on – for many people it may be pluses. TSX is a joke – I do not want even to compare it to either BMW or Buick or Infiniti for that matter. Sonata can beat TSX I think. I there is choice I would choose Sonata over TSX.


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